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May Queen (2012) Episode 1 Recap


Through the machinations of an evil man, a good man is killed and a baby girl is sentenced to die. Only because the orders were given to a close family friend is the baby saved to grow up as a sort of Cinderella in her adoptive family. In a world filled with lies and bullying, among children and adults alike, we come to share Hae Ju's life.

RECAP: EPISODE ONE

Recap by beldaran, Screencaps by Belen


The story opens to a man, scientist Dr. Yun Hak Su, happily playing with his three-year-old baby girl, Yu Jin, after what is hinted as a long absence, while his wife, Geum Hui, tries to feed a young boy. The boy, Chang Hui, is actually the son of a friend, Gi Chul, who is helping them pack up for their impending move.

The happy scene is interrupted by a call from Do Hyeon, who informs Hak Su that his cover has been blown and that he needs to bring in the intel.

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He grabs a film and goes on the run with wife, friend, and kids, just as a Japanese masked unit with assault rifles arrives to subdue them. In the ensuing panic, Geum Hui accidentally trips and splashes scalding water on both children, marking them.

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Unable to locate the film in the house, the masked unit chases after them. Hak Su separates from the group and leads the unit in the opposite direction. They surround him, and with silenced guns aimed at him, the leader asks for the intel.

Meanwhile, the other four make it to a back road, where Do Hyeon and his men intercept them. Do Hyeon puts a reluctant Geum Hui and the children into a car to be delivered to the safe house, while Gi Chul stays behind to lead them to Hak Su.

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They find him just in time and Do Hyeon’s men subdue the attackers. Once Do Hyeon sees the intel, however, he shoots Hak Su, unconcerned by the blood spraying on his face while Gi Chul trembles in fear and horror. When Do Hyeon turns his gun on Gi Chul, the latter pleads for his life and swears his loyalty and silence. It earns him a shot through the knee, but, at least, his life is spared.

Worse, we find out that the whole ordeal was orchestrated by Do Hyeon.

At a rainy funeral, Geum Hui weeps over her husband while a man in a white uniform cries as he holds baby Yu Jin. Do Hyeon and Gi Chul are also in attendance, and the former looks with displeasure at the baby and the mark on the baby’s neck. He then rushes to catch Geum Hui just as she’s about to faint.

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On a clearer day, Do Hyeon calls Gi Chul and his son out. He starts by alluding to the life-debt owed and preaches that children could help women move on. The thoughts seem random but the intent is clear: he wants Gi Chul to do something for him. He punctuates this by picking Chang Hui up and swinging him over the edge a few times, threatening the boy’s safety.

One dark and stormy night, while Geum Hui is praying at a Buddhist temple, Gi Chul abducts the baby Yu Jin and takes her to a friend, Cheon Hong Cheol. He desperately asks Hong Cheol to raise the baby. The latter is unwilling to face his wife’s wrath, but money convinces him to take the baby.

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As predicted, Dal Sun doesn’t take too well to her husband bringing a baby home.

In the morning, Do Hyeon leads a search party to scouring the beach, with Geum Hui listlessly looking on. Gi Chul gets to his knees, crying that it’s his fault for taking her out to the beach when she had cried. Do Hyeon watches her closely through all this, and as the news is delivered that only a shoe could be found.

She tries to rush to the sea herself, but Do Hyeon holds her back.

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Later, Geum Hui silently mourns her loss at her husband’s grave. Do Hyeon arrives to offer his sympathies, but she just wants to be left alone. As she rises to vent her anger, she notices that he has brought his own son and daughter. He asks her to be the mother to his children instead.

She tries to walk away, but can’t help but turn back when the girl starts to cry.

Elsewhere, three-year-old Yu Jin plays by the sea, watched by Hong Cheol.

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11 years later, Yu Jin has grown up, seemingly the apple of Hong Cheol’s eye, while a pregnant Dal Sun still carries a grudge against her. Yu Jin, now known as Hae Ju, is a conscientious sister to Sang Tae and Yeong Ju.

The Cheon family heads out to Ulsan, in search of financial prospects, pinning their hopes on this El Dorado. Arriving at Gi Chul’s place, the latter is not pleased to see the family and panics when he sees the grown Hae Ju. Hong Cheol discloses that he had to break the promise of distance as they had to sneak away, broke, in the middle of the night.

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During this exchange, the children play in the field and have an unfortunate encounter with a hive of bees. Unable to outrun the insects, Hae Ju uses her body to cover Yeong Ju on the ground, cackling out like a rooster in an attempt to scare the bees.

A teenaged boy, who we later find out is a grown Chang Hui, encounter the Cheon kids and rushes to help them with the bee situation. Danger clear, Hae Ju is more concerned over the scared but unscathed Yeong Ju than the numerous bee stings on her face and neck.

When she collapses, Chang Hui hurriedly scoops her up to carry her back to their parents. Gi Chul is trapped between the fretting parents. To further show the audience her feelings for her adoptive daughter, Dal Sun blames the incident on the unconscious Hae Ju, while Hong Cheol tries to deflect her statements. The Pak father-and-son duo can only look on.

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In another part of Ulsan, Do Hyeon’s evil has moved from gun-toting operations to the corporate world. This time, he wants his employees to use all means necessary to acquire land for his shipbuilding operations. (Incidentally, the land in question is private land that was given for free to local farmers by Hak Su.)

Meanwhile, we discover that Geum Hui has indeed taken Do Hyeon up on his offer and is now the mother to his children, In Hwa and Il Mun.

With the children having received treatment for the stings, Gi Chul attempts to turn the Cheon family away. He doubles his efforts when Do Hyeon and his family arrive home, hurrying to make sure that Do Hyeon does not set his eyes on Hae Ju.

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Fed up with her husband’s promises, however, Dal Sun stops the truck midway to taking them back to where they came from and refuses to move until Hong Cheol reveals his plans. Irate, the truck driver starts throwing their things out onto the street and the family hilariously gets into a fight with the driver. In the end, they’re still left behind with nowhere to go.

Fortunately, a kind stranger (Jeong U) happens upon them on the street, and takes them to a recently vacated house to rest.

In what seems like just a day later, Hae Ju enters the local school and becomes part of In Hwa’s class. Hae Ju tries to cheerily greet the class, making light of her bee stings, but is alienated by the smell of the soy bean paste lingering on her skin. (Soy bean paste was applied for the stings.)

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It seems that In Hwa rules the class and the school because of her parentage, and the phrase “Don’t you know who her father is?” becomes a familiar saying around Hae Ju. Despite being originally assigned to sit next to In Hwa, the girl makes her trade seats with another student in class, with the teacher’s full nervous support. And, when the two girls get into a fight over lunch, it’s only Hae Ju that gets disciplined despite taking the first slap from In Hwa.

Hae Ju expresses her sense of justice: she accepts the punishment for hitting In Hwa, but In Hwa should receive equal treatment for doing the same. It only irks the teacher further, who demands to see her mother.

A car hurriedly screeches to a halt in front of the school, as Geum Hui rushes to find In Hwa, having heard that she’d been hit. In Hwa is perfectly fine, however, and Geum Hee asks to see the other girl.

They rush in to the teacher’s office, and Geum Hui looks Hae Ju over, a little unsettled by her appearance. The teacher entreats her to apologize for her actions, but, when Hae Ju maintains her silence, the teacher starts slapping the back of her legs with a stick. Geum Hui is quite taken aback by this, and tells the teacher to stop. “Children can fight. How can you hit a child because of something like that?” When Hae Ju is told to rise, Geum Hui seems to recognize something about Hae Ju.

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In the boys’ school, Il Mun is exerting the same kind of pressure and influence over the class, although it’s Chang Hui that ranks first in studies. When Chang Hui is announced to represent their school for the match competition, Il Mun tries to wrest the privilege, but the teacher just nervously sticks to the rule and walks out. Sang Tae is impressed by Chang Hui’s smarts, but gets himself in the path of Il Mun’s wrath.

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Il Mun and his lackeys bully Chang Hui into cleaning the classroom. Things seem to be heading towards a physical confrontation, when the noise wakes a sleeping student, Gang San, from his nap. It seems there’s a higher power in the boys’ school, as Il Mun and his lackeys freeze up, and he chastises them for waking him and recommends that Il Mun clean the classroom to set a good example. Sang Tae wonders if he’s the boss of the class.

Gang San walks over to the shipyard, where his grandfather wants to teach him to weld. He’d rather give his grandfather a wooden model of a ship that he had made, however. His grandfather destroys it, telling him to learn welding first.

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After school, Hae Ju collects glass bottles littered in the woods to turn them in for recycling money and has a chance to admire the shipyard from the hillside.

On the same hillside, Do Hyeon orders Gi Chul to convince the pear orchard farmers to close down their farms, using his familiarity as Hak Su’s friend. Gi Chul tries to tell him that the squatters may need to be compensated to move off the land, but Do Hyeon is from the “crush them” school of land takeovers.

Why give the poor money when you can buy a new expensive vase, anyway? He puts a new one into a display cabinet at home, to the disappointment of his children, who thought that he’d brought them a present.

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Geum Hui has not yet forgotten Yu Jin, especially on her birthday. Do Hyeon finds her in her room, caressing Yu Jin’s picture, deep in thought. He wonders that she hadn’t yet forgotten the child in over ten long years, and he tells her that she should put the child out of her mind. He hugs her from behind as she agrees, but her gaze betrays her feelings.

Later that night, Hae Ju turns in the bottle for some money, and then uses the money to shop for some food. She gets an earful from Dal Sun for returning late, and she sets off to cooking for the family.

She divides the rice into five plates: four large and one small. When she finds that there isn’t enough rice in the pot, she redistributes the rice so that there are only four portions. She pretends that she’d already eaten out with some friends, and gets a further scolding.

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Dal Sun decrees that Hae Ju will sleep out on the floor from tonight on, despite Hong Cheol’s protests. Hae Ju steps in and declares that she actually prefers sleeping outside. After dinner, she cleans and washes the dishes by herself, and sleeps outside. Hong Cheol comes outside to sleep with his adoptive daughter. As her consolation, she is able to look up at the stars, quipping that her father had told her that she wouldn’t ever lose her way with the North Star visible.

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At school the next day, Hae Ju is collecting glass bottles from the waste pile and putting them into her sack. The bully girls find her, and comment on her actions. When In Hwa can’t use her identity to get Hae Ju’s attention, she tells Hae Ju that there are a lot of empty bottles at her house that she can give away.

Hae Ju goes to In Hwa’s place, and recognizes it as the place that her father’s hoobae lives in. In Hwa refuses to acknowledge that her father is Hae Ju’s father’s hoobae, and takes her to see the crates of bottles at the back of the house, just long enough for Gi Chul to see them from behind the bushes and panic.

In Hwa invites Hae Ju in the house, and the latter follows. Hae Ju stares at the rocks for decoration, wondering at how they could be expensive when rocks are only used for throwing during fights. In Hwa seems a little distressed that Hae Ju can’t seem to appreciate the value of the finer things, and takes out her dad’s new vase to show Hae Ju.

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Unfortunately, In Hwa drops the vase as she’s about to hand it to Hae Ju. Whether or not she had actually meant to do it, it brings Geum Hui out to the living room, horrified at the broken vase.

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In Hwa disavows fault, and Hae Ju immediately drops to her knees, wide-eyed, and starts picking up the broken pieces. Geum Hui looks down at her and sees the burn mark at the back of Hae Ju’s neck. Her eyes widen, and the two end up staring at each other.

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  • nonski and MsSunny like this


1 Comments

Photo
 beldaran
Sep 03 12 02:16 AM
synopsis image credit to gfx team member Belen
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    • nonski likes this
 

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